Gracefully Truthful

Discover the original intent of Scripture. Make good application to our everyday lives.
Become equipped to correctly handle the Word of Truth!

Read His Words Before Ours!

John 1:1-8

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 All things were created through him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5 That light shines in the darkness, and yet the darkness did not overcome it. 6 There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify about the light, so that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the light, but he came to testify about the light.

The Original Intent

1) How can the Word be with God and also be God? (verse 1)

John opens his gospel narrative, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” The wording is similar to the opening of Genesis, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1) John even references creation in verse 3, inviting further connection to the Genesis passage. 

Heinrich Meyer explains, “John makes the beginning of his Gospel parallel with that of Genesis; but he rises above the historical conception of which includes the beginning of time itself, to the absolute conception of anteriority to time: the creation is something subsequent.”

John describes how, even before creation and time began, the Word was there with God. Word in this passage is a personification for Jesus as the second person of the divine triune Godhead, consisting of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. One God, revealed in three distinct Beings, each co-equal in divinity and authority. (Matthew 28:19)

Jesus, as God, was present with the Father (and Spirit, see Genesis 1:2) when time began because He existed before time began. The Son, like the Father and Spirit, have always existed and always will. (2 Timothy 1:9Hebrews 13:8)

John references Jesus as the Word because this language resonated with both Greek and Jewish readers. Author, Mark L. Strauss notes, “In Greek philosophy, logos [Greek for Word] could refer to divine reason, the force that brings unity and order to the cosmos.

In Judaism, God’s Word represented the dynamic power of God to accomplish his will…That Jesus is God’s Word means he is God’s agent of salvation and His self-revelation to human beings.” John wanted all readers to understand that Jesus, existent before time began and part of the Trinity, is the Creator God who came to reconcile them back to Himself.

The Everyday Application

1) How can the Word be with God and also be God? (verse 1)

As a self-described “word-girl,” I’m interested in conundrums, riddles, and word puzzles, though I’m mostly hopeless at solving them. Hence, John’s word choice caught my attention because it is puzzling. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (verse 1)

There were several things I needed to establish before I could gain a proper understanding of God’s intended meaning. First, who is the Word? We determine the Word as Jesus because, as God, Jesus existed in the beginning, before creation and the beginning of time. (John 17:5)

Jesus is also referenced as the Word in Revelation 19:13 as the author (also John) describes Jesus riding a white horse, wearing a robe dipped in blood, and is called the Word of God. Jesus, the Word, was actively present in the beginning with God, and He also was God. John writes this because God is one being revealed in three persons: Father, Son, and Spirit. (John 14:26)

Describing the Holy Trinity, David Guzik writes, “The Father and the Son (the Son is known here as the Word) are equally God, yet distinct in their Person. The Father is not the Son, and the Son is not the Father. Yet they are equally God, with God the Holy Spirit making one God in three Persons.”

John wanted his audience to know that Jesus who had lived among them, teaching about God (Matthew 6:9-10) and promising to send the Holy Spirit to help them (John 14:16-17) was indeed the Creator of the universe who died on the cross to offer redemptive forgiveness to all, restoring them back to God the Father (2 Corinthians 5:18). We are blessed that John recorded this message so we, too, can understand and accept God’s great love for ourselves!

The Original Intent

2) What does it mean that the life in Jesus is the light of men? (verse 4)

Before Jesus came to earth as Redeemer for humankind, people lived in darkness because of sin. (Proverbs 4:19) The Holy God could not abide His people’s sin (Habakkuk 1:13), so sin separated God from His creation. (Isaiah 59:2) In His mercy, God provided laws and sacrifices so the people’s sins could be atoned for through the spilling of blood. (Leviticus 16)

Still, the Old Testament is filled with accounts of God’s people disobeying Him and receiving consequences. (Jeremiah 5) When Jesus came to take the punishment of the world’s sins upon Himself (1 Peter 2:24), He made a way for humans to connect directly to God. He illuminated the world with His Light by forgiving the darkness of sin.

In verse 4, John writes that in Jesus “was life, and that life was the light of men.” Jesus came to earth to bring life and free us from sin and death for eternity! (Romans 8:2William MacDonald explains, “The same One who supplied us with life is also the light of men. He provides the guidance and direction necessary for man. It is one thing to exist, but quite another to know how to live, to know the true purpose of life, and to know the way to heaven. The same One who gave us life is the One who provides us with light for the pathway we travel.”

Because we have new Life and Light in Jesus, we can see clearly how to live. Jesus Himself says in John 8:12, “I am the Light of the world. Anyone who follows Me will never walk in the darkness but will have the Light of Life.” If we allow Him to lead us, Jesus will illumine our path with the Light of Life so we never walk in darkness!

The Everyday Application

2) What does it mean that the life in Jesus is the light of men? (verse 4)

I am a push-over for all “doggie rescue and rehab” stories. Most pups are either initially sad and unresponsive to human interaction or fearful and aggressive because of past experiences. Traumatized dogs have only known abuse and neglect; they have no idea how to interact with dogs or humans in a healthy, natural way.

Rehab success stories feature dogs who overcome their fears and anxieties by learning to follow the example of healthy behaviors from their rescuers and well-adjusted canines. It strikes me that humans are similar in many ways. Without a good example to follow, we stumble along as if in the dark, making mistakes and getting hurt along the way.

The good news is that we also have a Rescuer. Jesus! In John 1:4, the apostle writes that Jesus “was life, and that life was the light of men.” Jesus came to save us from the darkness of sin (Colossians 1:13) and the danger of following a broken path with no direction (Isaiah 53:6).

When we trust Jesus to be our Savior and commit to following Him, he puts His life inside of us (Galatians 2:20) and helps us follow His better way (Ephesians 5:1-2). When we surrender ourselves to Jesus, He provides His Light to illuminate our path. He teaches and prepares us to shine in the dark world. Ephesians 5:8 teaches, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.” We can be led by the light of Jesus and allow Him to use us to lead others to Him.

The Original Intent

3) Why did God send a witness to testify about the light of Jesus? (verse 7)

John 1:7 describes John the Baptist who “came as a witness to testify about the light [Jesus], so that all might believe through Him.” An angel told John’s parents “He will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. And he (John) will go before Him (Jesus) in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and the disobedient to the understanding of the righteous, to make ready for the Lord a prepared people.” (Luke 1:16-17)

John the Baptist was also prophesied in Isaiah 40:3 which heralds, “A voice of one crying out: Prepare the way of the Lord in the wilderness; make a straight highway for our God in the desert.” Even in utero, John the Baptist shared the Good News of Jesus!

While pregnant with John, Elizabeth was visited by her cousin, Mary, who was pregnant with Jesus. When Elizabeth “heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped inside her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Then she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and your child will be blessed! How could this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?”” (Luke 1:41-43)

God sent John to prepare the way for Jesus by calling people to repent and prepare for Christ’s coming. (Matthew 3:11) He told people how to respond when they encountered Jesus the Messiah. He softened and prepared hearts so they wouldn’t miss the King, who might not look as they expected.

The Messiah was coming with the power of the Holy Spirit, not with the might of an army. John the Baptist went before Jesus to prepare people to recognize Christ and give their hearts to Him in full surrender.

The Everyday Application

3) Why did God send a witness to testify about the light of Jesus? (verse 7)

Some people enjoy spontaneity, but I am a die-hard planner. If we have an upcoming party or event, I plan every detail so nothing is overlooked. If people like me can be so particular about event planning, it’s understandable that the ministry of Christ on earth called for a forerunner in the person of John the Baptist.

In John 1:7 we learn that John was “a witness to testify about the light [Jesus], so that all might believe through Him.” John wasn’t Jesus’ hype man or event planner. The preparation John did was point people to Jesus.

In Malachi 4:5-6 the Lord said, “Look, I am going to send you the prophet Elijah before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers.” Jesus referred to John in the same terms when He said in Matthew 17:12-13, “‘I tell you: Elijah has already come, and they didn’t recognize him. On the contrary, they did whatever they pleased to him. In the same way the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands.’ Then the disciples understood that he had spoken to them about John the Baptist.”

 John was God’s chosen messenger to prepare the way of the Lord. John’s “purpose was not even to preach. His purpose was to lead men to believe in the Light. He witnessed and proclaimed the Light so that all men might believe.

The man was sent to focus on people and to lead them to believe in Christ Jesus.” (Preceptaustin.org) We are to follow John’s example and testify about Jesus so the whole world will know He is Lord!

Tags :
Share This :

Can We Pray With You?

Prayer is central to our ministry as believers in Jesus as we carry eachother’s burdens and intercede for one another. Our team is honored to share the work of praying alongside you!

This Week's Lock Screen
Jan 24 - Feb 11, 2022 - Journey Theme #102

Authentically living out a life of worship to the God who rescued us from darkness requires accountability and intentionality. Join a GT POD and take the next step in your faith journey!

Like this: